Clinical school newsletter

Issue 1 - September 2009



Welcome to the first online edition of the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health (DPCH) newsletter. We are trying to:

Kathryn North

· move with the times

· reach more people

· not overload people’s email inboxes with large attachments

· save trees

· provide you with the choice of a brief overview or more detailed version of news about the Discipline.

We plan to publish the newsletter four times a year, in line with quarterly discipline meetings. We welcome your contributions and feedback.

Please forward all comments to

Clinical School news

Sydney Medical School drinks

Thank you to Sydney Medical School's clinical teachers


In recognition of your great contribution teaching our medical students, Sydney Medical School invites clinical teachers (all health professionals) to join us for 'Thank you' drinks and a tour of the recently refurbished Anderson Stuart anatomy facilities.

Friday 16 October 2009, 5.30pm
Friday 23 October 2009, 5.30pm
Anderson Stuart common room

or contact or 02 9036 9036

Child and Adolescent Health specialty block in January-March 2010

During 2010 there will be a one-off addition to the Sydney Medical Program: a cohort of final year (4th year) medical students will be undertaking the Child and Adolescent Health (CAH) specialty block from Wednesday 27 January to Friday 19 March. This will be in addition to the four cohorts of students who normally undertake the CAH specialty block from March to December. The additional cohort is due to the changes to the 3rd year program that were made following the recent curriculum review. From 2011 onwards we will revert to the normal program of four cohorts of students from March to December each year.

We have begun planning the timetable for the January-March cohort of students, which will be named 'Term F'. The timetable will differ from our usual timetable to take into consideration the availability of medical staff and functioning of hospitals at this time of year. The first three weeks will involve structured teaching, followed by four weeks of clinical attachments and one week of assessments.

The medical students greatly appreciate the teaching they receive during their studies in Child and Adolescent Health. The students give positive evaluations of the structured teaching program and the teaching and feedback they receive while on clinical attachments. CAH would be grateful for your assistance with the January-March cohort to ensure these students receive the same, high quality teaching that other cohorts receive. Clinical School staff will soon be emailing Discipline members and Children’s Hospital at Westmead medical staff to request assistance with lectures, tutorials, skills teaching, clinical attachments and examinations.

University of Sydney rebranding

The University of Sydney is changing its branding to position itself as “an institution that lives out a life of the mind through active and energetic engagement.” The University is endeavouring to change its image from one that relies on sandstone and research income to one that emphasises the intellectual strength of the University and the impact of research and teaching on the wider community.

While use of the new brand will start on 11 January 2010, further details will be communicated later this year. In the meantime, the University requests that all stationery be run down and no further large orders be made. It is expected that new stationery can be ordered from mid-October and staff will be contacted with further information closer to that time.

As part of the new brand, the University logo will change, although the original 1857 coat of arms will continue to be used for all ceremonial processes. The University URL will change to and emails will change to a consistent format of

Each department and faculty has a brand representative to coordinate the transition to the new visual identity. The representative for Sydney Medical School is Amanda Durack, Director of Marketing and Development.

Student news

Honours student profile

Meleesa Schulz

Meleesa Schultz is now an intern at Gosford Hospital (Network 7). In April this year Meleesa (pictured, on left) was the winner of a New Investigator Prize at the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand 13th Annual Congress held in Darwin for her presentation “Neonatal pain: a comparison of the beliefs and practices of junior doctors and current best evidence”. This was based on work conducted under the supervision of Dr Alison Lougran Fowlds and Prof Kaye Spence (pictured, on right) from The Grace Centre for Newborn Care, here at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Meleesa completed her Honours project whilst a USyd Medical Program student.

Meleesa created a survey which was distributed to junior doctors in five tertiary Neonatal Intensive Care Units in Sydney. Questions investigated the doctors’ knowledge and treatment of pain in neonates. Interesting and significant results were obtained comparing their reported knowledge and treatment with the recommendations in the 2006 Royal Australasian College of Physicians Guideline Statement on the Management of Procedure-related Pain in Neonates (RACP Guidelines). This information will be used to inform education of junior doctors and others.

Congratulations and best wishes to Meleesa!

Postgraduate research student profile

Yemima Berman

Yemima (Mimi) Berman completed an undergraduate degree in Science at The University of Sydney, with majors in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and Terrestrial Vertebrates and Evolution. She then enrolled in the graduate medical program at Flinders University and travelled to Los Angeles in her final year for electives in Clinical Genetics. She has now completed training in Clinical Genetics and works as a staff specialist at Royal North Shore Hospital.

Towards the end of specialty training in Clinical Genetics, Mimi commenced a PhD in Neurogenetics with Professor Kathryn North at The Institute for Neuroscience and Muscle Research. Her PhD has focussed on defining the effects of a common polymorphism in the ACTN3 gene on metabolism. From studies in mice and humans, Mimi has found that 18% of the world’s population who are completely deficient for the skeletal muscle protein alpha-actinin-3 appear to have improved insulin sensitivity, but may be at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

These findings have the potential to improve our understanding of normal variation in glucose clearance in humans, and the pathways involved in glucose clearance in muscle.

Mimi plans to complete her PhD in 2009, but hopes to continue a career in research alongside her commitments in Clinical Genetics. She says, “My PhD has been challenging but incredibly rewarding. Doing a PhD has opened lots of doors for me in my career. It has also reminded me how to be a good scientist and to apply that to my clinical work.”

Postgraduate research student conference

The Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health’s annual Postgraduate Research Student Conference held on 14 August 2009 at Rydges Parramatta was a great success and grows in size each year – this year 114 people attended. The Conference provided the students with the opportunity to present their research to a diverse, supportive and critical audience of supervisors, peers and members of the Discipline. A number of senior academics commented on the increasingly high standards and quality of research undertaken by the postgraduate students.

The keynote speaker was Prof Catharine Lumby, Director of Journalism and Media Research at the University of NSW and Foundation Chair of the Media and Communications Department at the University of Sydney. Catharine’s talk was What’s Eating Young Women? Body Image, Media and Agency.

Thank you to the session Chairs: Robyn Jamieson, Chris Cowell, Dominic Fitzgerald, Louise Baur, Sandra Cooper, Elizabeth Elliott, Geraldine O’Neill, and Kim Donaghue, plus the many postgraduate supervisors and post-doctoral researchers who helped with marking student presentations on the day.

The sponsored prizes for best presentations went to (pictured below, from L to R):

Sarah McIntyre: CHW Medical Staff Council Prize
Mimi Berman: Australian Genome Research Facility Ltd Prize
Marshall Hogarth: HD Scientific Supplies Pty Ltd Prize
[Speaker Catharine Lumby]
Frances Lemckert: The Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health encouragement prize for first year student presentation
Claire Martin: Roche Diagnostics Australia Prize
Jeff Hook: BioScientific Pty Ltd Prize
Frances Evesson: Miltenyi Biotec Australia Pty Ltd Prize
Renjing Liu: Qiagen Pty Ltd Prize

Thank you to the sponsors for their support of the student prizes.


Grants, achievements and titles

Dr Vijay Kumar was invited by the British Nuclear Medicine Society to be one of the 4 Guest Speakers at Plenary session of their scientific conference in England in April 2009.

Prof. Robert Booy: NHMRC Special Call Research on H1N1 Influenza – Characterisation of H1N1 Influenza 09 in hospitalised children using Paediatric Active Enhanced Diseases Surveillance. $149,460.

Prof. Elizabeth Elliott: NHMRC Special Call Research on H1N1 Influenza – An Unblinded randomized study of influenza A/H1N1 09 resistance to oseltamivir and zanamivir. $118,513.

Dr Daniel Catchpoole: University of Sydney International Visiting Research Fellowship Scheme 2009 (Round 2) – Integrated Data-Centred Diagnostics in Paediatric Leukaemia. $20,000

Prof. Louise Baur: Awarded the PHAA (NSW Branch) Public Health Impact Award 2009.

Dr Jonathan Craig awarded the National Kidney Foundation (USA) International Distinguished Medal for 2010.

Staff Appointments/changes

New Titles

Leon Heron – Conjoint Senior Lecturer
Dr Clayton Chiu – Conjoint Lecturer
Dr Helen Quinn – Conjoint Lecturer
Dr Min Hu – Conjoint Lecturer
Dr Laurence Cantrill – Conjoint Lecturer
Dr Marko Nykanen – Conjoint Lecturer
Dr Davinder Singh-Grewel – Clinical Senior Lecturer
Dr Kristi Jones – Clinical Senior Lecturer
Dr Meredith Wilson – Clinical Associate Professor
Dr Murthy Chennapragada – Clinical Senior Lecturer
Dr Ellie Smith – Clinical Associate Professor
Dr Peter Tsu – Clinical Associate Lecturer
Dr Jacqueline Small – Clinical Lecturer
Dr Damien McKay – Clinical Lecturer
Dr Elena Cavazzoni – Clinical Lecturer
Dr Kathrina Epino – Clinical Associate Lecturer
Dr Paul Turner – Clinical Lecturer
Dr Anne Durkan – Clinical Senior Lecturer
Dr Pathma Joseph – Clinical Lecturer


Dr Gary Browne – Clinical Professor
Dr Stephen Alexander – Conjoint Associate Professor
Dr Ian Alexander – Professor in Paediatric and Molecular Medicine
Dr Steven Alexander – Conjoint Associate Professor
Dr David Dossetor – Clinical Associate Professor
Dr Soundappan – Senior Lecturer
Dr Jacqui Dalby-Payne – Conjoint Senior Lecturer
Dr Jonathan Egan – Conjoint Senior Lecturer


Dr Stewart Birt – Lecturer for Masters
Frederica Barzi – CHW Biostatistician



This year’s ANZAME (Australia and New Zealand medical education conference) was held in chilly Launceston with the theme “Bridging Professional Islands”.

Sub-themes included:

  • Workplace based learning
  • Dealing with increased student numbers
  • Professionalism

Guest speakers included:

  • John Clark, Director of Medical Leadership and International Relations NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, UK
  • Peter Carver, Executive Director of the National Health Workforce Taskforce
  • Professor Judy Searle, Principal Medical Adviser, Workforce, Education and Training
  • Professor Allan Carmichael Dean, Faculty of Health Science, University of Tasmania

Professor Carmichael gave a clear, concise presentation about changes in medical education, training and workforce over the past century. He highlighted current challenges and opportunities.

As well as those pictured, the meeting was attended by Patrina Caldwell and Karen Scott from CHW. There were six presentations by CHW Clinical School staff.

ANZAME10 “Overcoming BARRIERS, RE(E)Forming Professional Practice” will be held in Townsville, Queensland form Tuesday13 to Friday 16 July 2010.

Photo: L – R Wendy Hu (Associate Director of Education at CHW) David Lester-Smith, Dianne Campbell, Meg Phelps and Anne Morris.


Upcoming conferences and meetings

Paediatric Obesity Update
Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, 29 September 2009
For more information, contact the Education Centre, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, on Ph: +61 2 9845 2091.

Griffiths Mental Development Scales - Extended Revised (GMDS_ER) Training Course
Puketiro Centre, Porirua New Zealand, 19-23 October 2009
For more information, contact .

Excellence in Paediatrics
Florence, 3-6 December 2009
Deadline for abstract submission is 14 September 2009. Deadline for early registration is 5 October 2009.

WCIM 2010 in conjunction with Physicians Week
Melbourne, 22-24 March 2010

The Paediatrics & Child Health Annual Meeting will be held as part of RACP Physicians Week, with the theme, "Adolescent Medicine: From One Generation to the Next". Closing date for abstract submissions is 18 September 2009.

ANZAME10 “Overcoming BARRIERS, RE(E)Forming Professional Practice”
Townsville, Queensland, 13 - 16 July 2010.

26th International Congress of Pediatrics (ICP 2010)
Johannesburg, South Africa, 5-9 August 2010.

The RACP will host ICP2013 in Melbourne in August 2013.
The 3rd Congress of the European Academy of Paediatric Societies (EAPS)
Denmark - 23-26 October 2010.